I suppose we all should have figured that some unconventional takes on the Soul Train Awards were imminent with the incomparable Miss Erykah Badu at the helm. And last night, the analog girl made good on her promise of delivering an awards show of the highest order, injecting her wit, swagger and charisma into each second of each minute of the show from open-to-close.
One particularly exceptional bit from the night found a quartet of r&b stars stepping into the ring for what has to be the first-ever soul cypher. Chrisette Michele, K-Ci (who appears to have been the inspiration for Chappelle’s Tron), Lalah Hathaway and Eddie Levert (of The O’Jays) were hand-picked for the battle of belts, rocking over Mobb Deep’s classic “Shook Ones” in an epic bout of crooning supremacy. While Levert and K-Ci make formidable efforts, the crowns, no doubt, go to Michele and Hathaway, each of which puts on a dazzling flutter of scatting, with Hathaway even running through her mic-dropping, self-harmonizing thing and Badula capping things off with a short and graceful “On & On” touch.
Watch the soul cypher go down in the books at the 2015 Soul Train Awards down below.